Program Helping To Provide Basic Healthcare In Vanuatu

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AusAID providing funds for over 200 community aid posts

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 8, 2014) – Vanuatu residents on Emau Island are now able to receive basic healthcare, thanks to a program funded by AusAID.

The Village Health Workers Program has more than 200 aid posts targeting an estimated 30,000 people in the country.

The organisation Save the Children helped implement the program and its Senior Health Program Manager Chris Hagarty told Pacific Beat the people of Emau now have access to a range of important health care services.

"Many local people don't have access to high functioning health services and so they... (don't) have access to medicine," he said.

"Maternal and infant mortality is higher than what it ought to be in Vanuatu, kids suffer from acute respiratory infection including pneumonia, from diarrhea diseases is a big concern for children and babies.

"Malaria still has a hold of the health concerns for people in the northern part of the country."

The aid posts are community built and owned, helped by donations.

Mr Hagarty says the team has been training community volunteers, known as village health workers, to deliver basic health services to rural communities that do not have access to the formal health system.

He observes that many aspects of people's health has improved dramatically over time but more can be done.

"Malaria is very much on the decline in Vanuatu, and the government is very hopeful being able to eradicate it in the southern provinces within the next 12 months," Mr Hagarty said.

"Certainly health has improved dramatically and disease has reduced in the last 15 years."

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